George Russell will head back to F1’s real-racing world next month as the undisputed king of the Esports world after claiming a fourth straight win in the final edition of the Virtual GP series.
In keeping with recent races, Russell was unstoppable up front at the computerised version of Canada’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and this time beat Red Bull rival and long-time friend Alex Albon by six seconds on the road – and 15 seconds in the final classification once three time penalties for Albon were factored in.
When does F1 return: The first dates for 2020 season
With Charles Leclerc not taking part in the finale, Russell was already guaranteed to take the honours in the ‘points’ standings for the overall series and so – unofficially at least – he took the crown as champion.
Esteban Gutierrez was third for Mercedes, who missed out on a race victory in F1’s virtual world.
Debutant Caio Collet, 18, was fourth for Renault, but AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was disqualified.
Underling the differences between the real and virtual racing world, Albon was told by his race engineer at one point that Russell had offered to slow down up front to make it more interesting.
But there was ultimately no such charity from the dominant Englishman, who recently remarked that victories in the Virtual GP series were doing wonders for his profile.
“It may not be the real thing but it’s been such a buzz battling for wins with the lads again these past months. I’d missed that feeling!” tweeted Russell.
“Enjoyed the series way more than I expected. No matter what you do you’ve gotta give it everything! #VirtualGP Champ… cheers everyone!”
It may not be the real thing but it’s been such a buzz battling for wins with the lads again these past months. I’d missed that feeling!
Enjoyed the series way more than I expected. No matter what you do you’ve gotta give it everything!#VirtualGP Champ… cheers everyone! 🏆🙌 pic.twitter.com/HQmF13YlA0
F1’s return to real-life racing at the Austrian GP at the start of July is unlikely to prove quite so eye-catching for Russell, with Williams still playing catch up after two seasons at the back of the grid. However, after a more promising pre-season back in February, the Grove squad are optimistic of a more competitive 2020.
Who won F1’s Virtual GPs?
Bahrain – Guanyu Zhou, Renault
Vietnam – Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
China – Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Netherlands – Alex Albon, Red Bull
Spain – George Russell, Williams
Monaco – George Russell, Williams
Azerbaijan – George Russell, Williams
Canada – George Russell, Williams
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